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Crime victims call frequent parole hearings 'traumatic,' legislation seeks to change that

Randy Gilbert (left) is sitting on a wooden table inside a meeting room at Michigan's Capitol building. Gilbert is sharing his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sitting next to him (left) is Eaton County Prosecuting Attorney Douglas Lloyd. Both are wearing a suit and tie.
Screenshot of Randy Gilbert speaking in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of the bills.

A pair of bills moving through the Michigan legislature would give the state parole board the ability to increase the amount of time between parole hearings to up to five years. The measures are an effort to offer more support to victims of crimes.

Currently, Michigan law allows inmates eligible for release to have the state Parole Board review their case every one or two years.

Randy Gilbert is the survivor of a 1979 attack by East Lansing serial killer Don Miller. Speaking before a Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, Gilbert said the current rules force victims like himself to relive traumatic events on a regular basis.

"Every morning I wake up, is today going to be the day? Is today the day he's going to be released? I have to deal with that every year, every day. It kind of makes me feel like, like I've got the life sentence," he said.

Gilbert said the five years would give him the time to figure out what he would do when Miller is released from prison.

"Give us time to live our lives. Plan ahead. Like right now, I can't really plan ahead. I got to plan day to day. What am I going to do if he's released?" he added.

The bills have been approved by the House and are awaiting approval from the Senate.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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